The Globus Toolkit has been an open source project since its inception, allowing the community to provide enhancements that have made it what it is today. But after a nearly 20-year run as what many see as the benchmark of grid computing, the Globus team at the University of Chicago will no longer support the Globus Toolkit.
One of the toolkit’s key components is Globus GridFTP; a data transfer protocol used to optimize high-bandwidth wide-area networks. Globus GridFTP is built on the FTP protocol, but additional features specific to grid projects have been incorporated.
According to their announcement, by the end of 2018 “all endpoints connected to the Globus cloud service using the open-source Globus Toolkit GridFTP server must migrate to Globus Connect. At the end of 2018, we will discontinue all maintenance (including security patches) and distribution of the open-source Globus Toolkit.
The reasons they gave for this is a lack of financial resources and a shift in focus. Previously, grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) helped cover the costs of supporting, updating, patching, and other general maintenance. With a shift in focus and lack of funding, they can’t afford to continue the project and Globus has moved its attention to Globus Connect.
Companies now must choose whether or not they want to migrate to Globus Connect or find a new solution altogether. Some may see this as a challenge, but it also provides an opportunity to evaluate the solutions currently available in the marketplace.
For companies that rely on the economic benefits of an open source solution, there are still some source solutions to choose from; one being the Tsunami UDP Protocol. It uses UDP to transfer files by sectioning them into smaller numbered blocks around 32 KB in size. The client and server application communicate via a TCP connection, while the transfer is performed across a UDP connection. But like many open source solutions, it has limitations. Tsunami UDP has the following limitations to consider:
- Doesn’t transfer directories or subdirectories. The files need to be bundled into one single tar file.
- No support for multi-threading.
- Multi-session and parallel file transfers are not supported. Tsunami UDP supports only one connection to the server at a time.
- Lack of resume or retry functionality.
- Native encryption not supported.
This may be a great “ad-hoc” solution, but the lack of features may make you want to reconsider the open source route. Before settling with Globus Connect, you may want to evaluate other solutions that are currently available. One of the available solutions is, of course, FileCatalyst. FileCatalyst provides a solution that includes all of the features that Tsunami UDP doesn’t.
It can be challenging when an open source solution you rely on discontinues support. But, if you take this challenge and view it as an opportunity to evaluate the market’s offerings, you may surprise yourself. You may not only find a solution that just does what you need it to, but you may find a solution that brings more value to the table than any open source solution could provide.